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The Zeta Potential as an Indicator of Surface Properties

Whether in technological applications, biology or medicine, successfully developing new materi-als requires detailed knowledge of their surface properties. Surface chemistry often determines if a product is suitable for the intended application. An appropriate treatment is often necessary to tune the surface properties to fulfill the application requirements. However, the decreasing time available for such development processes demands a meaningful and rapid analysis of the solid surface, preferably close to the real conditions of the material application.

1 Introduction

Various physical methods are commonly used for a chemical analysis of the solid surface. However, these methods often require a time-consuming sample preparation, or they are not sensitive enough for the outermost surfaces. The zeta potential is a character-istic parameter for describing the surface chemistry of solids. It is located at the interface between a solid and a surrounding liquid. The zeta potential represents the surface charge, which occurs in the presence of an aqueous solution when reactive (function-al) groups dissociate on hydrophilic surfaces or water ions adsorb onto hydrophobic surfaces. Varying the pH value of the aqueous phase influences the equilibrium between dissociation and adsorption processes, giving insights into the chemical behavior of the sur-face.

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